IDF criticised for moving female soldiers for religious recruits

By Jennifer Lipman, September 1, 2011
Women make up almost 35 per cent of IDF soldiers

Women make up almost 35 per cent of IDF soldiers

The Israeli army is facing criticism after it transferred four female soldiers from a unit because a group of Orthodox male soldiers were set to join.

The women were part of an Artillery Corps battalion and had all recently agreed to complete another year of service.

However they were told they would be moved to a different unit because the religious soldiers would not want to serve with them.

The army's decision was condemned immediately by Knesset member Rachel Adatto. The Kadima MK said it was unacceptable that female recruits should suffer and lose jobs they worked hard for so Ch aredi soldiers could enlist.

"Charedi soldiers can serve in their own units," she said. "We cannot take women away from the roles they attained with integrity and hard work. The situation in the IDF cannot go back to the way it used to be."

The four soldiers also complained in an open letter to their commander.

According to a spokesman for the IDF, the final decision has not yet been made.

"In any case, the status of the female soldiers in combat positions will not be harmed," he said.

The IDF is unique among the world's armies in operating a mandatory draft for women. Women make up almost 35 per cent of its soldiers and in May the army appointed its first woman major general, Orna Barbivay.

    Last updated: 11:49am, September 1 2011